Many women facing financial abuse risk

14-Jul-2016

By Jerome Doraisamy

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A large majority of women in relationships felt reliant on their partners for financial support, leaving them exposed to financial abuse, according to CoreData.

The research firm’s “Female Financial Abuse” findings, which surveyed 801 women nationally to assess their financial independence and literacy levels, found 70.3 per cent relied on their partner to support them financially, leaving them open to financial stress if their partner failed to manage finances correctly.

The research also revealed 60.5 per cent of women did not have assets held separately from their partner and 29.1 per cent saved nothing each month.

Very few had independent bank accounts, with 39 per cent saying they had their own savings and 33.5 per cent revealing they had their own transaction account, while just 36.3 per cent of women had their own credit card.

Even fewer had their own investments, with 17.5 per cent possessing their own shares, 8.6 per cent owning their own home and 4.6 per cent saying they had an investment property in their own name.

CoreData Western Australia head Kristen Turnbull noted the findings arose even in the face of the increasing independence of Australian women in modern society.

“Women who face up to reality and take control of their financial situation are less at risk of financial abuse,” Turnbull said.

“However, a lot of women are leaving themselves vulnerable – no matter how much they trust and love their partners – by not taking the steps to financially educate themselves and attain a level of financial independence from their partner.”

She told financialobserver: “There could be a divorce or death in the future that sees them suddenly in a situation where they’re having to deal with their finances for the first time; it’s really important that they empower themselves by improving their literacy today and taking control of their financial future.”

Women needed to take steps to better educate themselves, especially given 55 per cent would have a negative view of their financial security if sole responsibility was suddenly thrust upon them, she noted.

“We recommend they seek professional financial advice through a planner or super fund, just to get a handle on their situation and how they are positioned,” she said.

“I understand this is not possible for everyone, but women should at least have a basic understanding of what assets and debts they have, and if they’re not interested in being involved in the decision-making process, just talking to their partner about their financial situation and making sure they understand their financial position is a good start.”

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